CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) — Multiple Wheeling City Council members were in Charleston Monday, lobbying against House Bill 2202.
One of those members is Rosemary Ketchum, who says the bill would make discrimination okay.
Ketchum calls the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act an “oxymoron.” She says it will not encourage people from neighboring states to come over. Instead, she says it will encourage LGBTQ members to set up shop elsewhere.
House Bill 2202 removes the power from cities to create nondiscrimination ordinances.
This legislation is being introduced by Republican Delegate Joe Jeffries with the intent that any organization or employer doing business in the Mountain State would be subject to uniform nondiscrimination laws and obligations.
However, West Virginia does not have statewide legislation that protects LGBTQ people.
Ketchum says this bill stops small governments from doing its job.
It was in 2016 when the City of Wheeling passed a nondiscrimination ordinance.
It is still legal across the United States to discriminate against somebody based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity regarding housing or public accommodation. I rent in the city of Wheeling and I could be kicked out of my home because I am transgender.
We don’t have time for things like that to happen. We need to ensure we’re protecting folks from that kind of discrimination so we can focus on the real work.Rosemary Ketchum, In Charleston representing Wheeling Ward 3
Ketchum said that when Wheeling passed the ordinance in 2016, the Friendly City made good on its word.
Ketchum says it is not just this bill, but two others, that further undermine Wheeling’s and other municipalities’ authority.
7NEWS reached out to Delegate Joe Jeffries for comment but have yet to hear back, as the legislative session is underway.